The Big Nada?; July 1993; Scientific American Magazine; by Marguerite Holloway; 2 Page(s)
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro last June was full of sound and fury. What exactly it signified remains to be seen. The treaties that were signed have not yet been implemented. Money that was pledged has not been forthcoming. And the group that was established to enforce Agenda 21, a 40-chapter credo for sustainable development, has not cut its teeth.
Nevertheless, many observers and former participants say it is too early to be disappointed. The Earth Summit "did not revolutionize anything. But it is a process. We are in a very large river, and its current does not change direction easily," comments Susan R. Fletcher, an expert on international environment at the Congressional Research Service, which provides data and analysis to legislators. "The major problem is that we are almost inured to rhetoric. We have heard so much about doing these things without actually doing them."